The Melbourne 400 (formally known as the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400) is an annual motor racing event for Supercars, held at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Victoria since 2018. The 2018 edition was the first time that a championship round was contested at the circuit, after several years of supporting the Australian Grand Prix as a non-championship event.[1][2] The event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3]

Format

The event is staged over a four-day weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, as a support category in the lead-up to the Australian Grand Prix. Two thirty-minute practice sessions and two ten-minute qualifying sessions to determine the starting grid for the first and second races are held on the Thursday; two further ten-minute qualifying sessions to determine the starting grid for the third and fourth races, and race one, is held on the Friday; races two and three are held on the Saturday and the fourth and final race, the final support race before the main Australian Grand Prix race, is held on the Sunday. All four races are 100 kilometres in length.[4]

In 2018 and 2019, two longer races were run at twilight and featured a mandatory pit stop; with the two shorter races run during daylight hours and not requiring a pit stop.[5]

Larry Perkins Trophy

The driver who accumulates the most points across the four races receives the "Larry Perkins Trophy", named in honour of the Supercars Hall of Fame inductee who also started eleven Formula One Grands Prix.[6] The perpetual trophy was designed in collaboration between a student and senior lecturer at RMIT University and was partly created using 3D printing.[7]

History

Supercars Championship have held non-championship events at the Australian Grand Prix dating back to its first appearance on the Formula One calendar in 1985. The support event, most recently known as the Supercars Challenge, was held in every year from 1985 to 2017 except 2007. After the demise of the event, the series finally attained championship status for the 2018 season.[1]

The inaugural event saw four different winners across the four races, including Scott Pye's first championship race win in a dramatic third race of the weekend. Pye had taken the lead early in the race, and was among the drivers to remain on slick tyres during a late-race shower. Despite a brief off-track moment in the changing conditions, Pye held on for a narrow victory, the first for Walkinshaw Andretti United since the foreign investment in the team.[8] One victory and three further podiums across the weekend saw Jamie Whincup take the overall event victory and the first Larry Perkins Trophy.[9]

In the event's second year, Scott McLaughlin failed to win the event despite winning three of the four races across the weekend, including the 1,000th Australian Touring Car Championship race. In the other race, McLaughlin and Cameron Waters, who were first and second on the grid, clashed on the way to the grid, leaving both drivers out of the race. The race was won by Chaz Mostert, who also went on to win the round and the trophy.[10]

The 2020 event, along with the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, was cancelled on the Friday morning of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two qualifying sessions had already been held the previous day.[11] The event was included in the 2021 calendar, however was cancelled along with the Formula One round.[12] The Grand Prix returned in 2022 to record crowds in Melbourne. The four races were shared equally between Mostert and Shane van Gisbergen, with the latter winning the trophy despite finishing the final race in 20th position due to a tyre failure.[13]

Winners

The original circuit layout used prior to 2022.
Year Driver Team Car Report
2018 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore Report
2019 Australia Chaz Mostert Tickford Racing Ford Mustang GT Report
2020 event cancelled Report
2021 not held
2022 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore Report
2023

Multiple winners

By team

Wins Team
2 Triple Eight Race Engineering

By manufacturer

Wins Manufacturer
2 Holden

Event names and sponsors

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Howard, Tom (30 May 2017). "AGP to host Supercars championship round in 2018". Speedcafe. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 headlines biggest support category line-up". Australian Grand Prix. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  3. ^ Coch, Mat (12 January 2021). "Supercars confirms Grand Prix alternative". Speedcafe. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Supercars Operations Manual 2020 - Division "A" - Administration Rules" (PDF). Supercars. 4 February 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Supercars confirms twilight AGP races". Speedcafe. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ Adam, Mitchell (7 December 2017). "Supercars to race for Larry Perkins Trophy at AGP". Supercars. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  7. ^ Bartholomaeus, Stefan (15 March 2018). "Larry Perkins Trophy unveiled". Speedcafe. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  8. ^ Isaacs, Lewis (24 March 2018). "Pye takes thrilling maiden Supercars win in rain". Speedcafe. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  9. ^ Isaacs, Lewis (25 March 2018). "Reynolds claims Supercars Melbourne 400 finale". Speedcafe. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  10. ^ Newton, Bruce (17 March 2019). "Mclaughlin leads Mustang domination". motoring.com.au. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  11. ^ Bartholomaeus, Stefan (13 March 2020). "AGP cancelled, Supercars looks to reschedule". Supercars. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  12. ^ "F1's Australian GP scrapped for 2021". ESPN.com. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  13. ^ Nevett, Josh (10 April 2022). "MOSTERT CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY WITH A WIN". Auto Action. Retrieved 12 April 2022.